“Aha,” I thought, “There were ads for Healy Hall with menus in some of the older newspapers researched for other topics. But which topics, or on what dates of The Westfield Republican issues, were those ads noticed?”
Usually I write notes or print copies from the microfilms when I notice history mystery items. But, at the time I noticed that postcard, there were other urgent projects such as writing the next BeeLines article or Historian report, so the matter was tucked away in the dim recesses of my mind.
After I returned from my recent vacation to Germany, my car made “funny noises” when I tried to drive it. “Your brakes are shot,” reported the garage service manager. I took the car in to have new brakes installed the next day, and on the way to the garage, I saw a sign, “Auction Saturday — House and property,” as I passed 200 East Main Street. After leaving the car at the garage, I walked back to read the sign and write down the details, then returned to the garage and asked one of the salesmen if they knew anything about the house auction.
Within minutes I was handed an eight-page printout from the auctioneer’s website and read, “Selling 1852 Built Italianate Victorian Home in excellent conditions, fireplaces, Chestnut floors — a must see… Opening Bid… Terms and Conditions…” There followed a lot of “auctionese” plus details of the entire house and property, which prompted me to walk back to the location and onto the property. The grape arbor in back “called my name” so I determined to at least explore the possibility of bidding with my financial advisor. Of course he said, “No, you cannot afford it.”
Needless to say, I did go to the auction, and, to my surprise, not a single person bid on the house and property. They only wanted the furniture and other ephemera that were to be auctioned after the house bidding closed. Figuring I had nothing to lose by asking, I spoke with the auctioneer about what would happen with no bids, and he said that the house would be back on the market and, if I was interested, he could take me through sometime the following week.
The following Thursday, was a stormy day — rainy and windy and chilly — but the house was fantastic, with a warm, dry attic, round radiators with marble tops, a dream kitchen, and a full basement. There had been a beauty salon in the basement, and a legal office in the house, and of course, many years before, it had been a sort of inn with lodging and meals, as Healy Hall.
“This would make a great place for a visitor’s center, Westfield Historical Society and Museum, Historian office, old-fashioned tea room and soda fountain, even a B&B,” I exclaimed.
Meanwhile, I started researching as much as I could find about the history of the property. The house was built in 1852 by Nathan Patch. The 1854 Chautauqua County map of Westfield shows the house and property with the name of Patch, as also does the 1867 Chautauqua County Atlas map of Westfield. By 1881, the Beers Atlas of Chautauqua County map of Westfield indicates that the property was then owned by C. Persons, at which time the land was 14.5 acres.
Other owners have included Mrs. W.F. Healy, and the Bell, Baker, and Benson families, up to the present owners, Anthony and Rose Marie Spann. During the time of the Spann’s ownership, the home was twice on the Holly Tour of Homes — the 10th in 1993, and the 23rd in 2007.
If anyone has photo postcards of Healy Hall, or other memories or ephemera regarding this historic home, contact Marybelle Beigh, Westfield Historian as indicated at the end of this story. Thank you.
Marybelle Beigh is the current Public Historian for the Town and Village of Westfield. Her office is located at 3 East Main Street in Westfield, N.Y, 14787 — inside Parkview Ice Cream Parlor. Her scheduled office hours are Monday through Friday 9 to 11 a.m.; other hours by appointment.
Beigh can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 326-2457 (office), 326-6171 (home) or 397-9254 (cell).
Postcard courtesy of Nate Betts collection
A postcard shows Healy Hall in Westfield, which was operating sometime in the first quarter of the 1900s.